First the government abolished the cess acts and cesses in the name of GST, then it started abolishing the welfare fund acts on the pretext of subsuming them under the relevant labour codes. The employers in these industries would no longer have to cough up money to pay these cesses to meet the welfare schemes of the workers
“We have no other economic demands on the table. The 4 lakh workers from 42 state-owned ordnance factories, DRDO units, all the Military Engineering Service (MES) centres and Army Station Workshops are challenging the government at the policy level. Put an end to privatising defence production. In a sense, the strike is historic. This is for the first time that all the civilian employees under the Department of Defence have come together for a strike action. Earlier workers of only some ordnance production units used to come together.”
Caste-based discrimination and resultant socioeconomic disadvantage is therefore more fundamental a problem than simple economic disadvantage, and it’s the former that reservation has been constitutionally mandated to address. Economic disadvantage is usually a consequence of a vulnerability, and thus it is that vulnerability which needs to be tackled for effective poverty alleviation, which is exactly what the drafters of the Indian Constitution had understood to be the purpose of reservation.
When governments, both central and state, are not tolerating genuine criticism of governmental actions, and the courts are not doing much to protect the freedom of expression, a recent judgment by the Kerala High Court introduces a fresh breeze in an otherwise tense environment, where the voices of only some kinds of majorities are being entertained, while voices of minorities are being suppressed. Also, the judgment goes a long away in furthering the labour rights of employees, to express their opinion, even if it amounts to criticism of their employer or superiors.
As per the 2013 Act, the definition of sexual harassment (Section 2(n)) is hinged at “unwelcome” acts, whether directly or by implication, which may include any physical contact and advances; a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks; or showing pornography, or any other verbal or non verbal conduct of sexual nature.
The 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC), had recommended that all scheme workers should be recognised as ‘workers’ and not as ‘volunteers’ or ‘honorary workers’, should be paid minimum wages and they should get all statutory benefits like pension, gratuity, DA, earned leave, medical leave, and maternity benefits, including child care leave, life and health insurance, etc.